Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for your magazine. Can you please tell me more about learning groups.
Maria Mogangane

Thanks for the letter Maria. People learn to read and write in learning groups. If you want to join a learning group, find some friends who also want to join. Then find a friend who can read and write already. Then write to Learn and Teach. We will show your friend how to teach the group. We will bring books for the group. And we will visit the group often. Good Luck! -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you very much for your magazine. I liked the story about Don Mattera. The story shows that a tsotsi can change and get good manners again. Please write more interesting stories.
Samuel Luthuli

Dear Learn and Teach
I have only read one Learn and Teach magazine. And I really liked it. I have sent R2.50 for the next 10 magazines. Can I get the old magazines?
Amos Phethe

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we do sell old magazines. Send us R2.50 and we will send you the last 10 magazines. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Your magazine is wonderful and I think everyone should read it. I have learnt many important things. I try to teach these things to other people. Thank you Learn and Teach.
Gaby Andrew
Natal Teachers Training College

Dear Learn and Teach
I really enjoy reading your book. I read your magazine every night. I’m sorry my English is not good enough. I want to study standard five. Yes, English is good but I talk Xhosa. I want to read Xhosa in the magazine.
Beauty Nonqaba Bhogwana

Thank you for your letter. We are thinking of starting a magazine in some black languages. What do other readers think? -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I live in Namibia. I like reading your magazine very much. But I don’t like anything without music. Do me a favour. Write stories about music in the magazine and make me happy.
John Kgositsele

Thanks for the letter, John. I hope you like the story on Mara Louw in this magazine. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I worked at a company at Elandsfontein for five and half years. When I left, they gave me my U.I.F. card. When I tried to get money, they wanted to arrest me. I thought my card was useless. So I burnt it. What is your advice. Must I get my card again?
Alfred Boloka

Thanks for your letter Alfred. I think you must try get another U.I.F. card again. After all, you paid money to the U.I.F. fund every month. Get another card. Go to the nearest Com­ missioner or Magistrate’s office. Or go to the Department of Manpower in Pretoria. The address is: Laboria Building, 310 Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I belong to a Christian Youth Club in Daveyton. We really want to help you people. Can we sell the magazine for you in Daveyton?
Sipho Mbele

Thank you for the letter. We want organiza­tions to sell the magazine for us. An organiza­tion must take at least 50 magazines. The organization can keep 10 cents for each magazine they sell.- -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I found out about your magazine a few days ago. Can I take pictures for the magazine?
Cyril Mliso

Thanks for the letter Cyril. We want people to send us pictures. But we also want stories with the pictures. Think of some ideas. And write to us or phone us. Our telephone number is (011) 834-4011.

Dear Learn and Teach
My name is Bethwell. I want to tell you about my problem.
I have worked on a farm for 10 years. We start work at 6 o’clock in the morning. We finish at 6 o’clock in the evening. We work five and half days a week. The farmer pays me R25.45 a week. I am very good at my job. But my wages have stayed the same since 1973. I never get a bonus. Can you please give me some advice.
Bethwell N.
Elgin, Cape Province

Thanks for the letter Bethwell. The law does not look after farm workers. The law does not say how much money a farm worker must get. And the law does not say how long a farm worker must work. Farm workers must try to stand together. They must try to fight for a better life. Go and talk to African Food and Canning Workers Union. Maybe they can help you. They have a branch near you in Grabouw. The address is. Gerald Wright Memorial Hall, Pineview, Grabouw. (No telephone) -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I worked at a chemical factory. After I left the company, I got sick. The doctor said the chemicals made me sick. He said I can’t work for the rest of my life. What can I do?
Sidwell Mohale

I am sorry to hear about your problems Sidwell. You must go to an organization for help. Go to the Industrial Aid Centre; 312 Trevor Building, Voortrekker Street, Vereeniging. Tel; (016) 22 – 4743. – editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I’ve got some problems. I come from Witsies­ hoek. But I stay with my uncle in Tzaneen. I am in form three. Now my uncle says he can’t afford to keep me. So I must go and work. I will work and go back to school later. Can you tell me how to get a reference book?
S. Mohlakoane

Go to the Black Sash. They will help you get a reference book. But you will have to travel far. The nearest Black Sash is in Pretoria. The address is: Presbyterian Church, 294 Schoeman Street, Pretoria. They are only open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

But try not to leave school. The new law does not let students over 21 stay at school. Try get a bursary. Write to the Education Information Centre. They will give you a list of bursaries. The address is, 6th Floor, Dunwell House, 35 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein, Tel: (011) 39 ­ 2476. -editor


Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach

I bought the Learn magazine in a shop in Durban last month. I have not bought the magazine before. I really liked the magazine. I have shown it to all my friends. I liked the stories about the old guys – “King Force”, “Sofasonke” and Helen Joseph.
I want to get the magazine every month. Can you send it to me?
E.M. Mbonambi Ntokozweni

Yes, we can send the magazine to you every month. Please send us a postal order for R2.50. We will then send you the next 10 issues. (Our address is: Learn and Teach, P.O. Box 11074, Johannesburg, 2000 -editor.

Dear Learn and Teach
I liked your story on factory workers rights very much. But many workers cannot understand English. So I sent you your story back in seSotho. Can you print my seSotho story in your magazine?
K. Lehoko Katlehong

Thank you for the story. Before we print your story, we must write the story in other languages as well. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for the stories on skin lightening creams. I hope newspapers and magazines stop advertising skin lightening creams.
Elizabeth Mashego Johannesburg

Dear Learn and Teach
I enjoy reading your magazine. Thank you for the stories on skin lightening creams. I don’t understand why people use these creams. We are born black. We must not be ashamed. We must be proud!
P.-Jiyane Tembisa

Dear Learn and Teach
I have read many Learn and Teach magazines. I have shown the magazine to many of my friends. They asked me to write to Learn and Teach.
My friends are factory workers. am studying for a university degree. am very keen to help my friends. Can Learn and Teach help me to help my friends?
Xola Nakase.
King Williamstown.

Learn and Teach trains teachers to help people learn English. We will give a course soon. We will write to you before we give the next course. We also train teachers to help people in other languages. -ed itor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for your magazine. Your magazine helps many people. In your magazine (Volume 4) you wrote about factory worker rights. I work in in a hotel. I work 10 hours a day for six days a week. Can you please tell me about hotel worker rights?
P.K. Johannesburg

In our next magazine we will print a list of all the trade unions. We will tell workers where to go for help. So don’t forget to buy our next magazine. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Last month I did a business course for four weeks. The course cost me R 150.00. I did the course because they promised to find me a job after­wards.
When I finished the course, they only gave me a certificate. They did not find me a job. What can I do?
S.T. Tsoinyana Sebokeng

You must go to an organization for help. Go to the Hoek Street Law Clinic. The address is. 801 Metro Centre, 266 Bree Street (cnr Hoek Street) Johannesburg. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I have a problem. Can you please help me?
I left school because we are short of money. I want to work for a while to get some money. Then I want to go back to school.
I found a job in Alberton. But the Pass Office sent me home. They said they didn’t want to see me anymore. What can I do?
S.M. Madie Pietersburg

You must go to an organization for help. The nearest organization to Pietersburg is the Black Sash in Pretoria. Their address is: Presbyterian Church, 294 Schoeman Street, Pretoria. They are only open on Tues­ say, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

A day at the beach

There are not many things nicer in this life than lying on a warm beach with your eyes closed and listening to the sea whispering in your ear.

I felt like a king lying in the soft sand in my pink swimming trunks and with my new “one-way” mirror sunglasses. I thought of my chommies back at the office in Jo’burg and laughed. They never believed I would save enough money to have a holiday in Durban. But I showed them!

After a little nap, I got up slowly and went to cool off in the big, blue sea. People of all colours, shapes and sizes were playing in the water. All of Africa was there for a dip and a flip.

Modimo must have been very happy to see such peace and happiness. Alles was rustig en vrydig in sonnige Suid Afrika…but not for long.


A group of women marched down on to the beach. Some of them were carrying wooden crosses under their arms. There was something about their faces that told me they were not happy like everyone else at the beach.

I watched as the women dug makebelieve graves in the sand and put the crosses on top. Then I heard someone say that the women were from the Black Sash — and they had come to protest the killing of four people by the SADF in Botswana a few days before.

The women stood next to the graves and said a silent prayer. Then they left the beach, leaving the crosses standing in the sand.

I was deeply touched by what the Black Sash mothers did. I looked at the crosses and thought about all the lives that have been lost in the name of a madness called apartheid. I sat there and wondered if Magnus ‘Rambo’ Malan and his soldiers would ever see the light.

Just then a big umlungu, with two tree trunks for legs and a big stomach that comes from drinking too many dumpies, ran up to the graves. Grunting like a wild pig, he pulled all four crosses out of the sand — and then he ran to throw them into the sea.

But the crosses did not want to go away. The sea washed them back to the shore. The big mlungu picked up the crosses and once again threw them back into the sea. People laughed and cheered as the crosses kept coming back to his feet.

Like a man who has lost his mind from drinking too much mampoer, the mlungu started jumping on the wooden crosses. Some other laanies liked what he was doing and joined him in his wild dance. They jumped up and down on the crosses until all that was left were tiny pieces of wood.

The big man then saw that someone from a newspaper was taking pictures of him. He became very angry. Growling like a mad dog, he ran after the photographer. But the woman with the camera was too fast for him. She escaped into the crowd and lived to see another day.

I looked at the big bobbejaan and decided that I did not want to share the same beach with people like him. I picked up my things and walked away without looking back.


After a long walk, I found a nice spot on another beach. I lay down, closed my eyes, and tried to get back into the holiday spirit. Slowly I fell into a world of sleep and dreams.

But not for long. I was woken by aloud voice.

“Hey, what are you doing here? This beach is for whites only. Blacks are not allowed to swim here, especially ones who are as black as you. Loop Jong!”

I turned around and saw a giant of a man with bright red eyes and teeth that were brown from too many Texan plains. He was standing right over me, and I could see the hair growing out of his nose.

I looked him straight in the eye. I wanted to tell him that all the beaches belonged to God and that I too am a son of God. But I kept quiet. Maybe it was the size of his hairy arms — or maybe I felt that I would be wasting my time because the badness of his blood runs so deep.

My tongue was dry and my heart was heavy. I felt like Allen ‘Sorry my baas’ Hendrikse, the ‘coloured’ minister who serves in the kitchen at parliament. He too once went for a swim on a whites only beach — and then ran to makhulu-baas P. W Botha to say he was sorry.

Once again, I picked up my things. Enough was enough for one day. I could no longer stand the beach bullies and the people who hate crosses and black people. “Speedie, is this really good for you?” I asked myself, thinking of home sweet home in eGoli.

Then and there I decided that I will not go back to Durban until the beach is open for everyone. A sea that is not for all is not for me!